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Grateful Dead Live at Civic Arena on 1988-06-26

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Grateful Dead Live at Civic Arena on 1988-06-26

Topics Live concert

Mississippi Half Step, Little Red Rooster, When Push Comes To Shove, Mama Tried-> Big River, Cumberland Blues, Gentlemen Start Your Engines, Big Railroad Blues, The Music Never Stopped Touch Of Gray, Playin' In The Band-> Uncle John's Band-> Playin' In The Band Reprise-> Drums-> Jam-> Dear Mr. Fantasy-> Hey Jude-> Black Peter-> Turn On Your Love Light, E: Black Muddy River

Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
Venue Civic Arena
Location Pittsburgh, PA

Source SBD/Matrix > Dat > CDR > Sonic Solutions > CDR > EAC > CDWave > mkwACT


SBD/Matrix > Dat > CDR > Sonic Solutions > CDR > EAC > CDWave > mkwACT; extracted/seeded by Doug Nawrocki


Reviewer: don.otis - - June 2, 2015
Subject: A by the by regarding Bobby's involvement in writing GSYE
According to Dave Dodd,, "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines" has words by John Perry Barlow; music by Bob Weir.

Alex Allan's site shows the Barlow/Mydland (search at as does the disk set (see transcript at

I have always trusted David - I think his site is one of the most authoritative. But I think that this is where the error is coming in.
Reviewer: splue - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 27, 2011
Subject: touch of gray
best song ever!!!!!!
Reviewer: imbiscuits - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 27, 2011
Subject: Everything worked
love the Brent shows..when the room kicked in 2nd set.the Playin' jam was great.. the Black Peter jam felt like slow motion..Mr Fantasy..inspired me to go to many more..yeah the '87 show was great too..apples and oranges
Reviewer: East Coast Dave in WA - favoritefavoritefavorite - July 2, 2010
Subject: A decent, solid show
Because last summer's show here was so great, I had high hopes for this one. Not as good as '87 in my opinion, but still a solid and consistently well-played show. Nothing amazing, but no dogs either (depending on what you think of Brent's new-at-the-time song). I'd say the debut of GSYE is the most notable thing about this show. Again, there's nothing wrong with this show, but it won't knock your socks off, either. If you weren't there, my advice is to check out the '87 show instead.
Reviewer: BIG_R - favoritefavoritefavorite - November 5, 2009
Subject: 6-26-88
Good show. Decent recording.
Reviewer: Norman Clegg - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 16, 2009
Subject: Well-played show
This was the last of the 50 Dead shows that I saw. I was a casualty of the frustrations that came with the crowds following the success of the "In The Dark" album.....I felt it was all getting out of hand. Additionally, my ears were hearing a band that, despite some FABULOUS performances the previous year, was once again losing some of their joy & fire. All these years later I still maintain that opinion, spoiled I was! I thought the band would be around forever and I would simply catch them later when they were blazing-hot again.....

Anyway, this is a solid, entertaining show, for the era. I'm glad that they opened what turned out to be my last show with my FAVORITE opener, "Mississippi Half-Step", and it's a pretty good one. Also very much enjoyed the "Music" 1st set closer and the "Playin" > "UJBand" > "Playin" sandwich.

I've never been very hip to most 1988-vintage tapes/shows, but, relative to the period, to me this sounds like a fine show all-around.....lots of good energy! The very nice AUD recording and the special place in my heart for this show bump it up from 3 to 4 stars. Definitely worth a listen!
Reviewer: thebelush - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 27, 2008
Subject: A gift to me
This was the day I was born...not my birthday, the day I was born. It's cool to hear what was being played on that day. Makes me appreciate how long these songs have been around, and how their influence still continues on.
Reviewer: Sadface - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 12, 2008
Subject: GSYE
This song is stricly about living a dark life, which obviously some of the members of the band did by their own admission.

I'm sorry, but I appreciate it for its rawness and it's raunchiness. Real life can be both at times.

Love Brent - Love this show - it popped my cherry.
Reviewer: skr213 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 1, 2008
Subject: a good Brent show
Overall: great recording (I really love the SBD/AUD mixes that get the great sound quality, but also capture some of the feel of the show). Really good summer 88 show. Excellent song selection, solid playing, etc. This is also what I think of as a strong Brent show, with him fairly prominent in the mix, the song selection, and in the jams. I'm giving it four, although that may be a little generous.

The scene: after Alpine, Frank and I had to boogie home for high school graduation, so we missed Ohio (no big loss, luckily). Back out on the road, I think it was Peter, Larry, and me in the bus for this leg of the trip (Pittsburg, SPAC, then back home to Roch). This was the lone indoor show of our summer tour (we didn't make it to Minnesota). I generally prefer indoor shows, as it seems to trap the energy in. This was a great night with another new tune (every night in Alpine had a new song). I'm one of the biggest Brent fans out there, but even I'll admit "Gentlemen" wasn't his best song (someone else here said Bobby wrote it; that's incorrect, it was lyrics by Barlow and music by Brent). Anyway, I had a lot of fun at this show and I think it stands as a really good, but not amazing, show from a solid summer.

The music: Set I: Nice half-step to get everyone moving. Rooster keeps it going (check Brent on his verse and subsequent organ solo - how could you not love this guy???). As Jboy points out (God, I hate it when I agree with him), Brent's piano work on Push is worth checking. Cowboy Bob steps up with my favorite of his cowboy combos - and they're well played. Big River has some more good Brent playing. Gentlemen has it's debut here. One line that makes me cringe each time I listen is the reference to the girl "who's going to do us all and scream for more." Sorry, but I don't need to hear gangbang references in my Dead songs. Of note also, is that there is a section of the song that has an obvious opening for an extended jam, but they didn't take advantage either time they played it (Little Light has the same thing, and was never jammed to its full potential either). Big RR is always welcome and brings us back to our collective happy place. Music Never Stopped is alwasy good to hear, but this isn't a particularly rousing version.

Set II: Touch is spirited, but nothing particularly special. The Playing jam has some great input from Phil. It also goes pretty far out there before settling back into UJB. For this time period, I think this is a really nice Playin jam. UJB is spirited and also contains a nice jam that winds its way back to a Playin Reprise. An interesting drums that starts with bells and chimes (and some atmospheric jungle types of noises in background) and then moves to Mickey banging on that bar of his. A mellow, but good Fantasy follows space and melds into a good ole Hey Jude Reprise (a little sloppy, but it is fun). Lovelight is mostly standard, but Bobby does a nice little "now, wait a minute" and brings it way down before bringing it back up for its finale. Black Muddy ends a nice night in the city that intersects 3 muddy rivers.
Reviewer: Cecil the Turtle - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 10, 2008
Subject: one of my favorite shows
This show was the third Dead show I went to. I went on to see like over 50's shows after this one. For some it might not have been the best night for the band, but for me it was the show that I really "got" what seeing the Dead live really was about. I have some low quality tape of the show, but this one here sounds way way better. A big THANKS to the person who posted this !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Reviewer: jboyaquar - favoritefavoritefavorite - January 6, 2006
Subject: Decent Dalliances
Last year's gig in Pittsburgh was a raving success. How's the '88 edition?

1st Set: Hop, skip and a jump along with a shimmy shimmy wave awaits in "Mississippi." Jerry's already reachin for the friendly skies...yummy. "Rooster" doesn't smoke but at least sizzles. Brent's drizzle tinkling elevates "Push" beyond mundane status. "Mama" is pretty keen stuff. "River"'s got that shoulder shake thing down I love...women confidently shaking their hips (View from the Vault III woman on side of the stage is a good example)Despite a roughage during the first jammy, it's solid. Alright, the tone stays just as brisk and rifferific with "Cumberland." Weak if accurate, voices. That evil bounce "Gentleman" serves as a reminder that for a non-classic, it's at least better than 'Esau.' "Big Railroad" (awesome opening chords) is always appreciated but this version is a bit too casual to be effective. "Music" surprisingly, is a bore. Both Bobby and Jerry are in an ultra mellow mode which makes for a dull affair

2nd Set: "Touch" is fine but not mandatory, but what happened to the band performing during the first six tunes? Thankfully "Playing"'s flight is stronger. I appreciate some of the decadent happenings on the remote constellations (7's) The tones turn warmer signalling the transition to "UJB." A pathway to set salvation opens up halfway through carrying over to the quality minute of dissemination leading to an all too brief but righteously clap-along "Playin Reprise." "Drums" marched along whereas "Space" runs through familiar communications - maybe some samples from this show have served interstitials during Barry Smolin's 'Music Never Stopped Show' emenating from the City of Angels. We return from the outer reaches of 'Space' to find ourselves begging for "Mr. Fantasy." It's low-key but the verve kicks in once the crowd is allowed to sing-along with "Hey Jude Reprise." Jerry sounds properly grim during a fine, if not triumphant "Black Peter." Its partner "Lovelite" is around to close out the second set. It's a fair version, appropriately hyped but no big deal.

"Black Muddy River" closes out this halfway decent show... butif you're from Pittsburgh and want to listen to a hometown show, choose '87 all the way.

3 stars
Reviewer: Antonjo - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 14, 2005
Subject: this show was great
After the previous day at Buckeye, which was not one to write home about & had a strange sound mix that just didn't sound like "our Dead," we didn't know what to expect coming into this one. Plus, our floor seats had been swallowed by the soundboard, so we were re-seated involuntarily. The Dead treated us right, though, and we were given first row off the floor on Phil's side as "consolation." With the first strains of Half-Step, any remaining tensions were eased. While this wasn't a clear vocal night for Jerry, the vibration was positive, and it was great to see Phil singing on the "Rio Grand-ee-o"s at the end. Brent stealing a verse on Little Red Rooster (before launching into a wicked Hammond solo) was always a smile-inducing treat. Cumberland was a total surprise coming right after Big River, and it's rockin' (though the tape gives me the same thought I had at the show--that the two songs are so similar, there's a moment in Jerry's solo that sounds like he's still jamming on Big River). Though these aren't the most jammed-out versions of Big Railroad & Music Never Stopped, they were certainly tight and the band was obviously inspired to choose such a fabulous setlist.

As for Gentlemen Start.......what's not to like? This song grooves, with a great mini-space jam break that bursts in out of nowhere; I think it's a shame it didn't stick around, I prefer it to 2 if not 3 of Brent's 4 released Built to Last tunes. Except that once I had the tape and heard the lyrics, it's revealed as another of Brent's pain-soaked cathartics ("If you don't like trouble better leave my ass be"). This is definitely a Mydland-Barlow song, btw, neither Bob nor Bralove (?) had anything to do with it (check your So Many Roads songwriting credits). Anyway.....

The second set SMOKED. Touch of Grey having been way overplayed for a year, this version was sufficiently inspired to stir up some of its classic magic. After that, it was all she wrote. The Playin-> Uncle John's-> Playin' is classic, especially the re-entry into the reprise: picture perfect, and it seemed spontaneous. The Hey Jude coming out of Fantasy was also a suprise; though it wasn't the first, it was the first WE'd seen after several (always hot) Fantasy's, though this segue got really common right around then. It's my favorite Hey Jude reprise by far; Bob & Brent taking turns screaming, and Jerry powerfully laying the riff down above & beneath.
And the Lovelight....well, when Bob stops the band on a dime with a "Wait a minute," you KNOW it's a hot night. The only other time I saw that was the Gloria in Richmond. This is the hottest Lovelight I saw, along with 6/14/91 (preserved on View From the Vault II).
It was a short second set, but the performance was excellent. And loud.
We exited happily, reassured that our band was still...our band.

(A side note...Bob's hair was long as shit! By the Fall tour, he was pony-tailing it, so this was as close to a '67 Bob as I got to see.)
Reviewer: dmilks - favoritefavoritefavorite - March 15, 2005
Subject: Brent-Bashers
I would have been happy to take a Gentleman or Tons or Take You Home or Far From Me or Easy to Love You anyday from 90 to 95 than Way to Go Home or pretty much anything that Wince (I mean Vince) sang. This show is pretty average both performance-wise and in terms of sound quality.
Reviewer: tripel - favoritefavoritefavorite - October 18, 2004
Subject: o man...
...those Brent tunes, lol...

if he wasn't crying about women it was some strange fascination with large machinery.

the number of times a smokin set has been derailed by a Tons of Steel or a I Will Take You Home...ugh...

good thing they only played this once 2x...

but don't get me wrong, I loved Brent's playing and singing ..(RIP, dude)...but the g-g-g-gentlemen business im sure we all could've lived without...


Update to review, after comments above ...(can't add another comment)

personally I think Brent's most poignant contribution was "never trust a woman who wears her pants too tight.."

Ah, the times that brought me back to reality after daydreaming thru "lotta poor man makin 5 dollar bill", or some such frivolity..

lol I guess everyone's entitled to their opinion...

Personally, Easy to Love You is my fav Brent tune, followed by Far From Me. As for the others, well that was just one fewer Jerry tune you got to hear...

Although MUCH better to come out of space into I Will Take You Home, instead of some snoozer like Morning Dew or something ... ;-)

(ps Bob & Barlow actually wrote Start Your Engines, anyway...)
Reviewer: samson320 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 29, 2004
Subject: good show
tons of steel is a good song
Reviewer: samson320 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 29, 2004
Subject: good show
tons of steel is a good song
Reviewer: gvtmule - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 28, 2004
Subject: Gentlemen
I'm sure you're wrong about "all of us." I would have loved to see Gentlemen Start Your Engines played more. The song is actually about drinking, not cars, but whatever... The Dead scene needed a touch of reality which reflected actual life every now and then. Or I suppose you could just hum "Turn on Your Lovelight" while everyone in the lot crashes the gates.

When the police come you better let them in
Gentlemen, start your engines
Don't forget to tell them what a sport I've been
Gentlemen, start your engines
Reviewer: rootboyslim - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 13, 2004
Subject: Gentlemen Start Your Engines
What more can I say. If you have'nt heard this you need to check it out. All around great indoor summer show. Smokin 1st set into a great 2nd set
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